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Name: United States v. Cha & Cha
Case #: 09-10147
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/09/2010

Where police have probable cause to seize property and a residence, the seizure may become constitutionally unreasonable because of its duration and suppression of evidence may be a proper remedy.
Police, investigating a report that the owner of a karaoke bar was holding young women against their will, arrested the owner and seized the property while they sought a search warrant, seeking such items as passports of the women taken by the owner. The seizure lasted at least 26.5 hours before the warrant was obtained. During this time, the owner’s husband was denied entry, even to obtain medication for his diabetes. In finding the seizure unreasonable under the 4th Amendment, the court considered whether the police had good cause to believe the residence contained evidence of a crime or contraband; whether they had good reason that such evidence would be destroyed before the police could return with a warrant; whether the police made reasonable efforts to reconcile law enforcement needs with demands of personal privacy; and whether police imposed the restraint no longer than was reasonably necessary for police acting with diligence to obtain the warrant. Here, finding the seizure to be a 4th Amendment violation, the Court found that suppression of the evidence was appropriate under the exclusionary rule because a mistake of law was presented and suppression would provide the police with incentive to make certain in the future they understood the law. (Compare Herring v. U.S., 2009 U.S. LEXIS 581, 129 S. Ct. 695; 172 L. Ed. 2d 496, discussing mistake of fact.)